Healthy Living

Ever Wonder What Your Doctor Types in Your Chart?

Feb. 25, 2019

During a doctor’s appointment, your health-care provider writes notes about the visit in your medical chart. The notes may include information you shared, as well as your provider’s thoughts about your health and treatment options. Dr. Lauren Bruckner, medical director of UR Medicine patient engagement, explains the benefits of seeing these notes.

Thanks to a trend toward greater transparency in health care, a growing numbeYoung woman looking at laptop computerr of patients across the country are now getting access to these office-visit notes. The OpenNotes movement urges doctors to share with patients the notes they write during a visit.

But OpenNotes isn’t just about satisfying your curiosity. Research shows that referring to those notes can help you:

  • Achieve better health outcomes
  • Follow your treatment plan
  • Gain a better understanding of your health
  • Remember to take medications as prescribed

Currently, more than 37 million U.S. patients at more than 180 health systems have access to their visit notes—including patients in and around Rochester, N.Y. Visit notes from nearly all health providers at UR Medicine’s primary care practices and specialty clinics are now set to be shared automatically.

There are a few exceptions. Providers can opt out of sharing notes from a particular visit at the patient’s request, or if they believe that seeing the note is not in the patient’s best interest.

UR Medicine has joined the national OpenNotes movement to make visit notes available because of their great potential to improve health outcomes and to better engage patients in their health care, through enhanced communication and an even stronger provider-patient relationship.

For more information about visit notes, including answers to frequently asked questions, or to sign up for a UR Medicine MyChart account, please visit

How to View Your Visit Notes in MyChart

Once a visit note is shared, you’ll get an email letting you know that the note is available in the MyChart patient portal. You can access the note only from a web browser, as they aren’t yet available through the mobile app. To see the note, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your MyChart account
  2. Click on the Visits button. Choose Appointments and Visits from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select an appointment from the Past Visits section and click the Notes tab
  4. Read your note

Dr. Lauren Bruckner

Lauren Bruckner, MD, PhD, is medical director of patient engagement and associate professor of Pediatrics and Oncology at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, and a staunch supporter of optimizing use of electronic health records to support communication, patient and family satisfaction, and quality of care.